What young Catholics want

I was referred to an interesting blog post by a “Young Catholic“.

This young Catholic explodes the assumptions aging-liberals make about what what young Catholics want. Here is a taste:

The problem is all these pastors, youth pastors and music directors keep telling us young folk what bores us, what we really like, what we find interesting. And guess what, THEY’RE WRONG! If one listens to the young Catholic voice, one would find we are yearning for beauty, for tradition and for truth. Traditional Catholicism honestly fascinates us! We go all week hearing perky pop-songs, jumping techno and chatter that doesn’t leave a minute of silence. We go to church and we get exposed to the same exact things. Thus, of course we find it boring! Why should we go to Mass when we can stay home and sing “Gather us in”, listen to a preacher on tv and fill our rooms with noise? Young people are sick of the world. We long for a safe habitat where we can bow before God and think. We crave contact with ancientness, with a strong grounding, with strong Catholic identity. God’s people are chosen out of the world, set apart, destined for a heavenly home. We want a taste of that!!

What young Catholics want:

First, we wouldn’t mind if you listened… Stop telling us what we think and what we like. Look at traditional Catholic parishes, they are overflowing with young people and traditional seminaries are crowded with young aspirants. The next generation wants precisely what your generation has put away and tried to hide from us. There’s a proverb: “The son longs to remember what the father longs to forget!” Remember it! We hate guitar Masses. We hate bare hymns and Masses that must be kept under 45 minutes. We want the red meat that is the 2,000 year old Catholic faith and not only that, we want to sink out teeth into it! [Where have I read that before? Perhaps HERE?]

When young people see that Mass is not like the rest of the week, that it’s not like the world, that it requires us to think and act differently- as if we’re present when heaven touches earth, we will be interested. We will wander in with curiosity, saying “what glorious thing is this?” and we will stay there.

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  1. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    I remember thinking as a young man, when the ‘adults’ told us what we should want in the Church (most of it being warm and fuzzy happy clappy crud), that, “Well, just wait, you’ll come to see that you speak for no one but yourselves.” What has surprised me over the years/decades, nay astounded me, is how few, virtually no one in that generation, has in fact come to see that they speak for no one but themselves. They just never grew up.

  2. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    I should add that among the clear middle-aged thinkers I was blessed know back then, they never presumed to tell me what to want. They told me who Jesus and and his Church ARE. I knew enough to know I wanted that.

  3. L.S. says:

    Excellent! As a fellow “young Catholic,” I wholeheartedly concur.

    Sadly, for every manifesto like that, we get one like this: “Vatican II changed Catholicism. I know a lot of old-school people might not have liked the changes, but from then on, people actually knew what was being said at Mass. People my age and younger would grow up with a completely more relevant version of the religion that their grandparents and parents had known.” (http://voiceofyoungcatholicism.tumblr.com/post/37851227963/9-reasons-pope-john-paul-ii-was-a-rock-star)

    Most of the young Catholics I know (teenagers and early college students) fall somewhere in the middle: many have an appreciation for traditional prayers, Eucharistic adoration, and are gradually, more or less, doing away with their misconceptions about the TLM; but they do tend to promote excruciatingly bad “worship music” and harbor attitudes similar to “Vatican II made the Church relevant!”

    (Also, I’m excited to finally comment after lurking for so long. :))

  4. Supertradmum says:

    Dear Father Z, I cannot agree with you more. Many of my posts are geared to youth in college and university. They are starving for the real thing and know the real thing when they see. It is interesting that the Millennials, about whom I have had three posts in the past week, seem to fall into those who are really looking for truth and those who have decided to be either philosophical or practical atheists.

    As we know, most of the newer seminarians are more conservative than their teachers. God has a plan. They have to be of stern stuff to face the future, including, most likely some type of martyrdom.

  5. Flambeaux says:

    I recall saying very similar things to the parish “liturgist” over a decade ago when I lived in a different diocese. I thought she was going to have a stroke until she asserted her Reality Distortion Field. I left the parish shortly thereafter.

  6. persyn says:

    I think this is exactly what is going on. Unfortunately, I’ve also been in the position of being told by more than one faithful Catholic that I (or anyone with my “attitude”) am exhibiting hubris for expecting “steak” in liturgy, and that if I had an appropriate level of humility, I would content myself with sitting in the back pew quietly and eating the pureed veggies of the typical Parish liturgy. That would, of course, extend to the young person in this letter.
    Obviously, I think that person is wrong, and I’ll do what I need to do to have liturgical meat. As a matter of fact, I am sure that new evangelization will do no good until we have “old time religion” in the liturgy. Thank you for continuing to point out the need, Father: Save the Liturgy, Save the World!

  7. Christine111 says:

    I remember some years ago visiting a Church which just happened to have a lifeteen Mass that day. The Church itself, built about a century ago, was beautiful, but for this Mass they had brought in a rock band complete with electric guitars, drums, speakers, etc. All throughout the liturgy they played loud, modern “Christian” rock songs, and, although the pews were packed with teens, they all looked restless, bored, and embarrassed by the spectacle they witnessed “on stage.” The middle-aged hipsters thought they were rocking out, when in fact the entire “show” was patronizing and cringe-worthy.

    Like Young Catholic says, this is the sort of thing kids are exposed to all week long (except it’s done better and with more talent), so when they seek refuge at Holy Mass to commune with the their Lord, to be lifted up into the Divine life and be reminded of all that is sacred and good and holy, why on earth do liturgists think they’d be drawn to this sort of mediocre banality?

  8. Southern Catholic says:

    I am going to disagree. I am a young adult and I am a volunteer with a youth ministry, and there is hope that there is youth that are strong in their faith. However, they are not the majority. In my 3 years of doing ministry work and my college days, the most popular masses for the youth are the folk band masses. Most youth are the CINO’s especially when it come to sexual issues, for example many support gay marriage, and indifferentism. More needs to be done to evangelize to the youth, and thankfully we have the New Evangelization.

  9. dominic1955 says:

    I think that is what the more conscious of Catholic youth might think. If you did a poll or went around speaking with anyone who was younger than whatever arbitrary date was picked that self-identified as Catholic, you’d get a different answer. Not different in that they actually liked or preferred the pathetic Catholic attempt to imitate the world in all of its banality but rather they do not even know what they want.

    You do run into plenty of people who “like” this stuff, think it “helps” their religiosity. Herein lies the rub that we are really up against-visions of the Church. We think liturgy is about the worship of God, it was given to the Church by God because we owe God a debt of worship and also because it transforms us and the world into the divine life God wants for us. Feelings and notions are fleeting, God gives consolation at times but that is not why we pray or worship. The other side thinks of liturgy as a didactic excercise, a community building enterprise, something that gives an emotional high which is falsely equated with religious experience or prayer. Even if people want this and ask for this, ultimately the Church is giving her sons and daughters stones and scorpions when they ask for bread and eggs-regardless if what they think “bread and eggs” should mean or be.

    This is why polls and such must be held suspect-most of those polled haven’t a clue of what is being asked of them. “Most” people “prefer” the NO to the TLM or “vote with their feet” by continuing to go to their own parishes rather than the TLM parish if their town has one. None of this actually means anything for the TLM because there are so many factors not being taken into account, one of the primary of which is the fact that people do not know what liturgy is or is supposed to be because the powers that were (and are) have been forcing their counterfeit concept of liturgy on the masses. Why should we ever expect a different response until people actually *know* what they are talking about?

  10. The fundamental idea underlying all “populist” innovations like guitar Masses, puppet Masses, “teen” Masses, etc. is this:
    The People (especially young people) can’t understand it unless it’s vulgar.
    Could anything be more truly elitist than that?

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  11. dominic1955 says:

    Secondly, in my (granted limited) experience as a de facto “youth minister”, even the “on fire” Catholic kids could be quite relativistic if you actually asked them anything substantial. It seems this model of “evangelization” is very shallow-might have a “Catholic” (and even then its suspect) veneer, but give a good scratch and its secularism right below the surface.

    When I was a kid, I always thought the “Church’s” attempt to be “cool” was like an old woman dressing in the newest fads to try to be “with it”. What is there to be with? New clothing fads are often ridiculous as well as skanky. The old matron, who should be a model of sobriety, experience, wisdom and virtue demeans herself and everyone else by adopting the demeaning fashions of “now”. Even if some gains are had in the immediate, you pay for it later because there is no truth or not enough in it.

  12. Lynne says:

    Hope is a beautiful thing…

    Juventutem Boston


  13. MichaelJ says:

    Not to sound like a broken record, but doesn’t His Holiness opening a twitter account fall precisely in the category telling young folk what bores them, what they really like, and what they find interesting?
    Somebody convinced him that young people can only undersand the Faith if it is fed to them in sound bites and that they will only listen, to borrow from dominic above, if he is “cool” and “with it”

  14. mamajen says:

    At 31 I probably don’t count as a “young Catholic” anymore, but I think this is spot on. Growing up I always yearned for structure and tradition, being part of something with very specific rituals and rules. I’m the same way now. Though I don’t want to be anything other than Catholic, I do kind of envy other religions that have special practices that they aren’t ashamed of. Many Catholics can’t even be bothered to have an Advent wreath.

  15. 14 yo son’s comment: “We should print this and give a copy to Father.”
    12 yo son’s comment: “Truth.”

    Praying, fasting, and longing…

  16. The Masked Chicken says:

    I am not sure that the writer speaks to what young people want (although he claims to), since plenty of older people want what he mentions, too. In fact, his post has nothing to do with youth and everything to do with the desire for tradition. In this, I commend him, of course, but he seems to think that generations older than he are simply ruiners of everything sacred. While a case may be made that recent older generations were iconoclastic they should not be judged too harshly, bcause they were caught up in a period of the rapid advancement of science and technology unlike any in history and the urge to experimentation propelled the era. It resulted in a wholesale jettisoning of tradition, but that is not always a bad thing, provided that, as in the sciences, there are adequate safeguards for maintaining or determining the truth within the outcomes of the experiments. Science has this safeguard, so, jettisoning the movement of vital forces for the atom, a true revolution, made sense. Unfortunately, the larger culture, infiltrated with Modernism, had no such safeguards, so, the experiments they made were not in the service of truth, but in man-made agendas. This killed tradition to a point, but the truth will out and, eventually, the errors of the experiments are becoming obvious (to those who have eyes and ears).

    He is frustrated. I empathize, but he needs, it seems to me, to gain a bit more understanding of the mind of the earlier generations, else he stands the possibility of making statements that are too broad (not every change is bad or unbeauteous). This is a bad habit I have seen in the current younger generation – to spew bile at a caricature of the Baby Boom Generation, as if that generation were responsible for all of the encroaching darkness. Truth be told, this situation has been going on for much longer. The matter merely crystallized in the 1960’s with a generation that was, mostly, powerless to stop it. After all, it was bishops who had to sign off on most of the wackiness, at least within the Church. Most of the laity was innocent of the blood (although some – a very dangerous some, were not). In the wider society, it was the Pill that changed everything, ruined relationships, ruined a sense of beauty.

    I would be more convinced that he really understands that young people want a return to tradition if he can show me a desire among the young for a return to the traditions of marriage, of respect for the old, for a return to a concept of beauty that makes one weep for its loss. The society of young people outside of his circle are so damaged in their understanding of the transcendent that they are almost incapable of distinguishing true beauty from false beauty, so darkened have they become by the sensual. They hardly ever mourn for the passing of the beautiful, so hurried are they to get on to the NEXT THING.

    I don’t know why I’m in such a contrary mood, but I expect most people reading his post to say, “Oh, how perceptive he is,” but I’ve seen too much of time and history to think anything but that a real appreciation of the gain and loss of any traditions can only be made after one has touched the traditions. The author has touched the Catholic tradition and so, for himself, can mourn for its loss, but he is not like other young people to begin with, so he cannot accurately judge the distance others, not raised to appreciate any tradition, will have to travel to claim or reclaim it as their own.

    As I say, I admire his cry for the true and beautiful. It is at heart what all people want, the young and the old, but I beg to differ with him if he thinks that this is currently what they THINK they want. I am surrounded by people his age all day. I, too, have my observations and until a sense of both sin and the holy supernatural have returned, many young people will scarcly be able understand that there is anything special about anything beyond their own wants and desires. I’m not pessimistic, just a realist. If 100 young people were to sit in a EF Mass, only a small portion would be able to see it for what it is. That can change, but conformity and immorality are terrible burdens the young carry, today. Yes, older generations left them that culture, but in reality, the percent of people who really appreciate tradition doesn’t change much from one generation to the next – it is usually a small percent, unless the society has a right understanding of people, since tradition is a manifestation of what people value – and let me tell you, for most people, today, that t’ain’t neither people nor God.

    Some in the Baby Boom Generation have made exactly the same comments the author has, so his cry is nothing new or revolutionary. I refer to George Rochberg’s book, The Aesthetics of Survival: A Composer’s View of Twentieth-Century Music. The two comments on Amazon.com, one giving the book a one-star rating, while the other giving it a five-star rating illustrate my point, perfectly.

    The Chicken

  17. alexmfarmer says:

    At 32 I think I am on the upper edge of youth (I could still go to WYD) and what I want is not the 5 Advent Penitential Services in my deanery (at least a 45minute drive to some of them) but the opportunity to go to confession all year round in my own parish (10 minute walk) without having to make an appointment.

  18. jaykay says:

    They abandoned the “rock Mass” in our local church only a couple of years ago… I believe on the basis that it was so bad that its intended audience – young people – were actually laughing at it (or so I was told by one 20-something). I did chance to hear the band practicing once and while, at 52, I am not very au fait with what people 30 years younger than me are into musically these days, it left me with the strong impression of a really bad take on 70s/80s stuff i.e. my generation’s thing. And I mean: really bad! Pomp rock meets Kate Bush sort of stuff. I would have laughed myself sick at the twee pretentiousness of it back in the day.

    And some twerp thought this was suitable for a Mass? Our beautiful 19th century sanctuary (altar rails still intact) desecrated by drum kit, amps and leads all over the place, not to mention the musical “product”. Truly, Father Willis, who installed our glorious 37-stop 2208-pipe organ must have been spinning in his grave.

    Anyway, it’s now a thing of the past.

  19. anilwang says:

    IMO, youth actually want the harder aspects of the faith and don’t want to be patronized. Trying to be “Father cool” immediately paints you as uncool and out of touch. If you try to make mass and Catholic education hip, you’re already betraying that Catholicism has nothing to offer over secular entertainment and edumedia, and they have far larger budgets to look hip than you ever will. The youth want challenge and they want to be able to prove themselves. Give them easy to digest mush, and they’ll lose their interest. It is not at all surprising that the youth prefer TLM.

    For example, the Orthodox have been extremely successful at reaching the punk culture (the last group you’d expect at a Divine Liturgy) through simply presenting the severe regimen of the monastics. An example of those efforts is the “Death to the World” (i.e. mortification) Zine ( http://deathtotheworld.com/ ) which simply presents the sayings of the desert fathers and black and white prints from monasticism.

  20. Mariana says:

    “Young people are sick of the world.”

    Too true. The papers here (Scandinavia) regularly write about how odd today’s youth is, how they have been everywhere and done everything and all they want is family and work. No wonder the Catholic Church is growing at an incredibly pace here, for of course they, today’s funny youth, also want God!

  21. I am the person who wrote that article.

  22. The Masked Chicken

    “He” is a she. Thank you.

  23. jesusthroughmary says:

    Rachel –

    A. Good stuff.
    B. Don’t pick on the Masked Chicken – he is just being grammatically correct. (And yes, I recognize the potential irony of my preceding statement if it turns out that the Masked Chicken is also a she.)

    Mamajen –

    We in our early 30’s should not be considered young adults, but for some reason we are. I have a feeling that that is a fairly large part of our society’s problem.

  24. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    Again John Lukacs, c. 2005: “For the first time in history — and for a historian there are very few first times in history — the old people are liberals and the young people are conservatives.”

  25. Connie says:

    I agree with Southern Catholic. The youth that want tradition are still very much in the minority. One look at http://www.phatmass.com/phorum will verify this to be true, in real time.

  26. fvhale says:

    Today, the feast of St. John of the Cross (Forma Ordinaria; I know the date is 24 Nov for the FE calendar), I cannot help but see Jesus on the cross with his arm stretched out calling me to be open to “both sides” of this conversation. Too often I meet Catholics who, to use a parable, would say, “I am right handed, so I will just cut off my left arm.” That is the mutilation of the “hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture.”

    My heart goes out to this young Catholic. I had many similar frustrations after I returned to the Roman Catholic Church in the late 1990’s. My parish had music and youth ministry run by an OCP composer, and, under the direction of the bishop at that time, the parish was under a lay administrator. The atmosphere and practice was about as liberal, progressive, experimental as could be. Young people were happy with that, as were their elders. I remember a Good Friday homily about baseball (none of that religious stuff, mind you).

    But time is mercy, and God uses time. He is our God who teaches us what is for our good, and guides us in our path, to paraphrase Isaiah from the reading for this Advent weekday. Now, a couple of bishops later, and fifteen years later, the parish population has changed, the hearts in the pews have changed. We now have a priest pastor. Five years ago the parish actually read, together, the first encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI (never before had anything by a pope been read). Earlier this year a new monastery of Carmelite nuns moved into the parish, and, for the first time in the almost 50 year history of the parish, we have a seminarian, and a Pontifical High Mass in Latin was said in the parish. Along the way the tabernacle moved back into the center behind the altar (from a side chapel), the organ returned, etc. Even though most of the music is from OCP publications, sometimes the choir sings in Latin.

    Of course there are some who grumble, some who leave (both older and younger), but this entire suburban parish has changed so much over the last five years that a time traveler would not be able to recognize it, changed slowly, organically, one heart at a time, at different rates. The young people are different, and the elders are different, too. And last Sunday, with the confirmation youth and families in the parish, the place was packed.

    I love Latin, but I will not refuse to sing “Gather Us In” if that is a song for a Mass. I prefer to hold my own hands during the “Our Father,” but will never refuse to hold the hand of a widow who took her gloves off to hold mine. I love both Forms of the Roman Rite, and happy join in both the Mass and Office of either form, wherever I am. I love good religious art, which is probably why I like to travel to Italy, but I will never complain about bare walls (some bare walls I have loved are a thousand years old…). We need to be “both and” people, as Pope Benedict XVI wrote: “What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.”

    So, even though the “young Catholic” might show some of that hard-charging zeal and a bit of rough articulation of a passionate young man, I think he is basically right. I pray that he will persevere, and especially pray for all of those around him, even those who reject him or think him to be “too much.” It is better to be hot than lukewarm.

  27. fvhale says:

    @Rachel: You rock. Please excuse my assumed-grammatical-masculine pronouns.

  28. Christopher says:

    Connie says:
    I agree with Southern Catholic. The youth that want tradition are still very much in the minority. One look at http://www.phatmass.com/phorum will verify this to be true, in real time.

    A forum is not an accurate representation of the demographics among the youth who love the Tridentine Latin Mass. I, for example, am a youth and desire the Tridentine Latin Mass, yet I do not use such a website.

    God Bless.

  29. Choirmaster says:

    More than what ‘young people’ want, the important point for everyone to grasp is what ‘young people’ perceive as they discriminate between B.S. and Truth. The presentation of pop culture as legitimate religious expression will fail the B.S. test of young people every time regardless of whether they want to be a part of the Church or not.

    You cannot maintain, on the one hand, that the Mass and the Church have something supernaturally unique to offer, while on the other hand, deliver a mockery of popular culture, and expect a young person, zealous or not, to buy it. I have many young friends and family who are not interested in religion, but easily recognize the B.S. of the self-ashamed NuChurch compared to the solid seriousness of genuinely Catholic art, liturgy, and philosophy.

    All we can do as the Church is deliver the real Church when anyone, by God’s grace, darkens the chapel doorway, and not some banal, on-the-spot imitation.

  30. Clinton R. says:

    Excellent post. Simply put, what is “new” or “edgy” will quickly become old and tired. What is classic and beautiful (ie the TLM and orthodox Catholic teaching) is timeless.

  31. Cantor says:

    I could wish that it were so, but not here.

    Our parents are the biggest obstacle to youth participation in the life of the church. We have a fairly active Grade 1-12 youth program group of about 250 kids in the parish. But that’s out of 9,000 registered families! Parents, frankly, seem not to require, encourage, or care if their kids go to Mass.

    The dedicated “teen Mass” is Sunday at 5:30 pm. There’s an on-again, off-again, teen ‘band’ but dependability is not their strong suit. The 20-strong children’s choir sings 4 times a year at dedicated “family Masses”.

    Recruiting young people to sing in the adult choir, with an average age north of 60, has proven futile. (Though we did find a couple of non-Catholic high schoolers from the local arts magnet school to help with Mozart and Brahms on All Souls Day.)

    Strangely enough, it seems that many converts and reverts are drawn to Catholicism by its historic trappings, not its current state. Perhaps in time that will be the response for today’s youngsters – they’ll seek a more peaceful experience with something greater than themselves. But from here, it looks a long way off.

  32. Connie says:

    You misunderstood. I pointed out Phatmass because it is “mainstream” Catholic youth….Novus Ordo primarily. I never stated those on that forum are TLM’ers. Some are, most are not. That was my point. Most Catholic youth desire the status quo, i.e. Novus Ordo because they can still retain a lot of the secular lifestyle that they have grown accustomed to with all its nonsense, music, very few demands required of them, and no sacrifice. Furthermore, I too worked with youth at a local parish helping with Confirmation. Many of the youth I encountered are as Southern Catholic stated, CINO, very liberal, pro-gay marriage, and very secular. The Traditional Catholic youth are the minority, by far.

  33. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear Rachel,

    Sorry, about the mis-genderizing. I didn’t look at your, “About,” page. Don’t get me wrong, I want young people to want what you say they do and I commend you for your sensibilities, but I, too, see youth close up and I do not see the pull of tradition on many of them. In fact, this is the most uninformed generation in terms of history in modern times. I recommend the book (I didn’t write it nor make up the title):

    The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don’t Trust Anyone Under 30)

    by Mark Bauerlein. It has 300 studies of the knowledge base of young people. Most have no idea about tradition.

    The Chicken

  34. fvhale says:

    Cantor wrote: “Our parents are the biggest obstacle to youth participation in the life of the church.”

    Sadly, that is sometimes too true. In regard to both the sacraments of baptism and confirmation, I have heard of parents who balk, both in the US and in Ireland, at they thought that they (the parents, at least one) should go to Mass most Sundays if they are seeking the sacraments for their children.

    Two years ago my diocese published “standards” for Confirmation which included a section on “Responsibilities of Parents” which begins with:
    – Living out the commitment they made at the child’s Baptism, when they accepted the “responsibility of training them in the practice of the faith.” (Rite of Baptism for Children)
    – Being open to continued growth in their own faith through participation in the sacramental life of the Church, especially in regular Sunday celebration of the Eucharist, daily prayer, and reading of Scripture.

    Some parents take offense, and some take the standards to heart. Some change parish to a place where things are more convenient and easy. But where the hearts of the parents can be won by God, it is quite possible that the hearts of the children will also be filled with love of God. Pray in hope.

    One of the biggest obstacles I see where I live, in a suburban community with filled with “high achievers” of all ages, preschool to retired, is that people at all ages are so, so busy. They really need a vision of something worthwhile if it is to get onto their calendar. Lukewarm, feel-good church that asks nothing of youth or parents is never going to get a priority (or a complaint, for that matter).

  35. The loss of vocabulary has given the youth no ability to express their inner most desires.

  36. aragonjohn7 says:

    As a young man I admire beauty and silence.

    God bless

  37. Christopher says:


    You misunderstood. I pointed out Phatmass because it is “mainstream” Catholic youth….Novus Ordo primarily. I never stated those on that forum are TLM’ers. Some are, most are not. That was my point.

    No, I understood clearly, you assumed that because a vast majoirty of youth are present on the forum who favour ‘mainstream’ Catholicism, they in turn represent a majority of the youth. It does not take into account those youth beyond the forums who may love the TLM which for all we know could out number those on the forums. All one is saying is that using a forum which cannot accurately represent youth demographics should not be used to propose such an argument.

    God Bless.

  38. Connie says:

    As I stated, I have worked with the youth and will state again that most of them (as a matter of fact I encountered NONE interested in tradition at the Confirmation classes I helped with for 2 years) are not interested in Traditional Catholicism because they are barely interested in Catholicism! Chicken’s post above agrees with me as does Southern Catholic. We have worked with the youth. Therefore I state again: The youth who want tradition are in the MINORITY, extreme MINORITY. This is coming from experience, not an online forum. I hope I have made myself clear.

  39. pmullane says:

    If you believe Catholicism is true, you won’t need to wrap it up in the nonsense of ‘life teen’,’folk Mass’ or do all sorts of nonsense to try and make youth come. I’m convinced a lot of the nonsense we see, rodeo Mass, puppet Mass etc, are the result of a crisis in faith in the truth of the Church.

  40. Dave N. says:

    I don’t really think liturgy is even about what someone “wants”; and that’s the entire liturgical crisis in a nutshell. Liturgy has been turned into a sort of political game of trying to prove who is/is not in charge.

    The Gen X and Millennial LifeTeen (which has some pretty sketchy beginnings, btw) and its endless parade of Steubenville East/North/South/West now seems to have now run its course, at least in this neck of the woods, and the Life “Teens” on their website are looking pretty grey around the edges. But the justification behind LifeTeen was always and without exception: “this is what the young people want.” What ever it was, I don’t think it worked.

    So now what? Contrary to the blogger’s experience, I also don’t see “traditional Catholic parishes…overflowing with young people.” Yes, there are some—a small but solid core I would say—but not SO many, especially when compared to the late-middle-aged and elderly. And in another 20-30 years they won’t be there.

    I think the only thing that we can be sure of is that we will see a drastically smaller Church in the future, and that it will be extremely painful getting from point A to point B. But in the meantime we should just keep doing what we are doing and not worry about what people “want.” It’s just not about that.

  41. Christopher says:

    This is coming from experience, not an online forum. I hope I have made myself clear.

    Yes, you have later on, your primary statement was an online forum however, and using an online forum for evidence:

    ‘One look at http://www.phatmass.com/phorum will verify this to be true, in real time.’
    That is what I opposed, personal experiences can vary from location to location, but I will not deny the personal experience in contribution to the discussion.

    If you believe Catholicism is true, you won’t need to wrap it up in the nonsense of ‘life teen’,’folk Mass’ or do all sorts of nonsense to try and make youth come. I’m convinced a lot of the nonsense we see, rodeo Mass, puppet Mass etc, are the result of a crisis in faith in the truth of the Church.

    Exactly the sentimentality, if you dilute the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to nothing more than another mere form of entertainment, then why will one be concerned to attend? Have they come for God, or their own interests?

    God Bless.

  42. keithp says:

    But, Father…

    The pastor is the one who allows the “teen” Mass and has now instituted a “family” Mass at 9AM on sundays.

    I find that there is no accountabilty and even less interest. Pastor sez “This is what the folks want…” Folks sez, “This is what the Pastor wantz…”

    When the children who attend Sunday Mass notice that the Father tells everyone to raise their hands and extend a “blessing” to a.) recent couples 50th wedding anniv b.) so and so’s moving away…. or c.) parish after Mass coffee ministry or other psuedo ministry, they don’t recognize that Christ is the focus of the Mass. And, it’s ALL up for “discussion” or “negotiation”.

  43. pmullane says:

    Connie, genuine question, how many young people you work with have been exposed to traditionalism? Or have any idea what it’s about? The extraordinary form is like opera or fine wine it takes effort and understanding to appreciate, but boy it’s worth making that effort!!

  44. jaykay says:

    Pmullane: agree, and deo gratias I have never witnessed a puppet Mass or any of that childishness, but what I fear more is the stunning banality of most Masses these days. In the main, devoutly enough celebrated (I speak of Ireland) but so lacklustre and going-through-the-routine! No wonder kids are bored. High Mass… wha’ da’? At least the new translations have restored some semblance of dignity, but Deus meus… what I see all too often is so reminiscent of all the caricatures of the much-demonised 20-minute low Mass. Do they realise that they have come back to what they fondly think they’ve “liberated” themselves from? The irony truly kills me as I listen again to Fr. Trendy omit the Creed so he can have mote time at the end to rush out and shake hands.

  45. The Masked Chicken says:


    The problem is that most youth do not have the patience to learn about Traditionalism. Many have very short attention spans and this is a function of the online experience, in part.

    I really want youth, in general, to return to traditional forms of worship. It can be done, but the effort will have to be made by older people to be sober and wise. That is asking a lot. Many children are not raised to appreciate those who came before them. That is the fault of their parents. many of whom have baggage from the past that prevents them from wanting to pay any homage to any portion of it.

    As strange as the disconnect might seem, I think the best way for people to learn to appreciate tradition is to get rid of contraception. What is contraception, but the intention to destroy something that exists that can be relegated to a blotted out past. We have spiritually poor families because of it and they cannot look back without feeling regret.

    The Chicken

  46. pmullane says:

    JayKay, yes, and its so counter productive. If Fr cannot take Mass seriously (laughing and joking, ad libbing, missing out whatever can be missed out) why should he expect anyone to get themselves and their families out of bed to attend? Why should we take a chunk of our wage to put in the collection? If Fr doesn’t take things seriously, why would a child think its a serious thing?

  47. dominic1955 says:

    Its not just Father’s fault. Who were the folks that gave him his “training” in pop-psychology and gave him the new Mass with a license to him and haw and do all sorts of foolishness? It is the Church’s fault, Nigra sum, sed formosus.

  48. Connie says:

    Probably next to zero of the youth I worked with have heard of the Tridentine Mass or Tradition. But like chicken said, most of them have the attention span of a gnat. They would rather play around on their phones tweeting, and texting, and talking about nonsense. I place the blame squarely on the parents.

    Needless to say, I no longer attend a Novus Ordo parish. I attend exclusively the Tridentine Mass, Traditional sacraments, Traditional cathechesis, and Traditional sermons. I am resolved to help our youth in Tradition for they will be the ones who will have to carry the torch of the Faith in order for it to survive.

  49. jaykay says:

    “… and entering the house they found the child with Mary his mother. And falling down they adored Him, and opening their treasures they presented unto him gifts, of felt and polyester and puppets…



  50. mamajen says:

    I’m tired of “Traditionalism” being limited to the TLM. It is possible to have a very reverent, traditional NO. I grew up in such a parish. It is also of course possible to do a very bad NO…and of course if you take youth from that kind of environment and plunge them right into a TLM, many of them aren’t going to be too keen. Baby steps. I would also say it’s possible for traditionalism to be done badly…not that it’s irreverent, but it can be so unnecessarily strict and joyless as to turn people off. I’ve seen that, too.

    Young people can’t want something specific if they have never had any experience of it. That doesn’t mean they can’t sense the difference between a dumb hippie mass and a beautiful reverent mass that has the right focus. If they truly WANTED and loved all the modern tripe, then why do they abandon the church in droves once they’re independent?

    If you want to be defeatist, fine, but I think the author of the post is correct.

  51. pmullane says:

    Chicken I think you are right, you can’t expect a child to love tradition unless its taught about tradition first. But I think many young Catholics would benefit if Holy Mass were treated as the serious matter that it is. If Mass is pitched at children, adolescents will ‘grow out’ of it, the same way as they grow out of kids tv and rusks and getting tucked in at night. But if Mass is a serious adult affair, where Fr takes things seriously, the adults are serious (and silent) and where we don’t mess around or talk, then they will ‘grow into’ it. No teenager wants to sing about the a fuzzy wuzzy bear, but the rosary, the memorare, the salve Regina will never be childish.

    I agree with your point about contraception, on another level, a serious Catholic family will eschew contraception and have a large family as they are living their beliefs, however a nominal Catholic family will ‘control’ the Suzanne of their family because they’d rather have the nice car, the holiday etc. Children notice how seriously their parents practise their faith, and act accordingly.

  52. pmullane says:

    Thanks Connie, Your experience matches mine. I think one of the biggest injustices of the modern Church is that children are starved of the great treasures of the faith, and are expected to make do with drawing pictures of zachaeus up his tree.

  53. The Masked Chicken says:

    “That doesn’t mean they can’t sense the difference between a dumb hippie mass and a beautiful reverent mass that has the right focus. If they truly WANTED and loved all the modern tripe, then why do they abandon the church in droves once they’re independent?”

    They have no sense of need for the Church because they have no sense of sin or their own mortality. You have got to believe me when I say that the aesthetic sense of many youth, today, is very poor. Many cannot tell, except at a subliminal level, the difference between a Puppet Mass and the EF. To recover a sense of Tradition, you first have to remove the blunting of the sense of Tradition. Conformity and immorality have ravaged the culture. Most youth are in a constant flight of escape.

    I am not a defeatist. Realistically, however, it will take sober minds unwilling to play the game to overcome things. An appreciation of Tradition will return when there is no place left to go.

    The Chicken

  54. n1tr0narc says:

    I don’t remember where I got this but they referred to today’s generation as the “Starbucks” generation, where one can order coffee cold, hot, with cream or with out, extra this and that, full cream, non-fat, skimmed…. etc.

    The plain coffee (or plain truth) is that the 2,000 year old mother Church… in the crux, the one and only… it is the cheapest but most essential (no critical) part of that drink we buy at the coffee place. No matter what we add, remove (as in decaf)… we cannot deny the plain truth.

    How much is that cup that you buy at the coffee shop? Find out how much the cost of the actual amount of coffee they put in there… see the difference?

    We are so impressed with the added tastes, colors, or that what we drink will not make us fat, or get heart palpitations… it has become a customized “ME” world… ME, ME, ME!!!

    When was the last time that you (and me of course) really just sat down to ponder on the greatness of God, of Jesus, or the Church here on earth?… when was that last time we just enjoyed that plain cup of truth (ahem… coffee)?

  55. Matt R says:

    Considering that I am in the generation described by the original post, I would like to offer a few thoughts.
    I wholly agree with mamajen’s most recent comment. I also see a lot of problems like the kinds the Chicken identifies re: technoglogy , and what Joe of St Therese said about the loss of language.

    Chicken, I know that the aesthetic sense of today is poor, but I still think that one could still be capable of sensing the difference between a ‘Puppet Mass’ and the Extraordinary Form. I think part of the problem lies in the ability to articulate the difference.

    Let’s recover our intellectual and educational traditions as well. I’m really sick and tired of pseudo-intellectuals who pontificate what religion is, what Catholicism is, or what philosophy is without actually thinking and reading.

    I think you could spend years looking at all the problems that snowballed together and are now impacting the youth of today…too many to fit in a blog comment-box.

  56. robtbrown says:

    The Masked Chicken says:

    They have no sense of need for the Church because they have no sense of sin or their own mortality.

    They have a sense of sin, but it’s social rather than personal. I agree that they lack a sense of their own mortality. Part of that is simply the youthful sense of feeling bullet-proof augmented by living in a culture with advanced medicine and nutrition. And part of it is not having to worry about the military draft.

    All men want to know the Truth. And those of university age are usually willing to make the sacrifices that come with living it.

  57. Jack Hughes says:

    In addition to Tradition and all the good stuff, as a young person I want to feel loved, allot of us are (in one way or another) casulties of the sexual revolution and it really irks me that lots of tradtional Priests that I have come into contact with, seem to look down on people like me, simply because our mothers wern’t homschooling, Daily Mass going, family Rosary type people.

    I know that ‘feelings’ arn’t in vouge amongst trads but ignore them and you’ll send people like me straight back into the arms of the liberals (who when they’re not writing for the fishwrap do a better impersonation of a human being) or turn us into bitter, envious Catholics who know the form and substence of religion but who feel like second class catholics because of our parents.

  58. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Most people, it seems to me, regardless of age, want “the truth” by nature, but many want self-affirmation because of concupicience. As a 20-something in graduate school, I wanted the truth, only to be told that — if I were to enter the Catholic Church – it would be through the servants’ entrance. When I wanted serious questions addressed in a thoughtful way, I found traditionally-minded Catholics willing to take the questions seriously, and answer them with truth and a richness I found sadly lacking in the pablum egressing from the mouths of so many self-identified “Vatican 2 Catholics”.

    It has been my experience that most of our young people still want the truth, but that our schools, our “homilies” and our consumption-based economy (to fight back against terrorists, said George Bush, go out and buy something) make it difficult for most of them to hear the truth which they so much desire.

    When they do hear it, it sounds foreign to their ears — which it is, in the same sense that healthy food and good manners are foreign to those who subsist on “Protestant” food and a crude sense of equality and entitlement — but when they see it loved by people and lived by people, they have to come face to face (literally) with it, and consider it in a new way. Not everyone does, of course, accept it, but that doesn’t change the fact that truth is truth, and that there is this natural yearning for truth.

  59. Charles E Flynn says:

    It appears that some young people want what I took for granted growing up in the 1950s and early 1960s.

  60. The Masked Chicken says:

    “They have a sense of sin, but it’s social rather than personal.”

    Well, they won’t be judged by God, after death, as a society. I am not sure I understand the concept of a social sin, theologically (yes, I know the Old Testament examples of the sins of the Israelites as a people, but I suspect there are still, at least ten good men around, today…). I know the term is colloquially used as a synonym for collective guilt, but there is too little cohesion in what passes for society, these days, to say that there is much of a collective anything for sin to belong to.

    I definitely think there will be a return to tradition when sin becomes personal, again.

    “All men want to know the Truth. And those of university age are usually willing to make the sacrifices that come with living it.”

    While I agree with the first part (all souls long for Truth), the scene on most campuses on a Friday night really argues against the second part.

    I sound like a grump and I have been a bit negative the last couple of posts, so I think I’m going to bow out of the discussion and try to get some R & R.

    To Rachel: I do appreciate your post and I hope you will keep the faith that the Faith will flower, again. I am sorry if I have been harsh towards you. Chalk it up to my grumpiness. You have no idea how much your passion gives me hope.
    The Chicken

  61. Mike says:

    mamajen says, “I’m tired of ‘Traditionalism’ being limited to the TLM.”

    I cannot agree more! Two of the biggest problems of today are 1) people draw a dichotomy between the ordinary and extraordinary forms, so they think the TLM is traditional and the NO is not. Even if they never say this directly, many do imply it, and they’re perfectly fine letting it remain that way; and 2) the traditionalists who are (quite understandably) fed up with irreverence or whatever else and so they leave the NO, and that means the NO is still left to fester in its banality. But if you ask me, the problem can only be fixed from the inside, and we need the TLM-goers to go to the NO more and try to exert influence.

    And before anyone misinterprets me, there’s nothing wrong with going to the TLM. But at the same time, the NO isn’t being helped.

  62. jesusthroughmary says:

    “…they think the TLM is traditional and the NO is not.”

    The Novus Ordo is not traditional. It represents a marked and deliberate departure from tradition. No degree of reverence, no amount of chant and Latin and ad orientem worship can change that fact.

  63. Southern Catholic says:

    Dave said: The Gen X and Millennial LifeTeen (which has some pretty sketchy beginnings, btw) and its endless parade of Steubenville East/North/South/West now seems to have now run its course, at least in this neck of the woods, and the Life “Teens” on their website are looking pretty grey around the edges. But the justification behind LifeTeen was always and without exception: “this is what the young people want.” What ever it was, I don’t think it worked.

    This is wrong. While the Life Teen masses may be questionable, their youth ministry teachings/lesson plans are solid, and their summer camps are really successful. In fact the last time I checked they are expanding all of their camps, especially Covecreast in Georgia. The Steubenville events are really popular and successful in my experiance as well because I can attribute at least half of my youth group coming every Sunday because of what they experienced there (and at Covecreast). They have been very successful and have always taught Church doctrine, and so far they have worked. I’m not sure what you mean by “gray edges”, but the staffs at these events consist of either college age students and young adults.

  64. Johnno says:

    What young people want are REASONS TO TAKE THE FAITH SERIOUSLY!

    The TLM serves this well by the extent because the positions, posture, dress code, reception and treatment of the Eucharist, and proper music all account ot show a community of people who just might actually believe in the things they preach and who take their faith seriously by virtue of the trouble and effort and actions that are put into doing it.

    Young people are relativists because nobody thus far has offered them any reason to believe anyone possess truth. And if you’re going to stand there and claim that the Catholic Church posesses truth, then you better be prepared to prove it!

    You better be prepared to answer questions of science, Biblical issues, and all those tough questions. And you’re not going to get far with philosophical wishy washy answers. You need take-no-prisoner apologetics. You need to pull the rug out from under them about all their assumed notions about reality. And above all you need unapologetic rational faith first in the things you claim to believe in before you go about telling others what to do!

    Young people are under the impression they all life, and society and religion are forms of evolution and ever changing towards inevitable progress. You need to destroy all of that. Scientifically, and socially. Young people are under the impression that Galileo and Heliocentrism has destroyed the Church’s credibility. You need to show them that modern science cannot prove one iota of heliocentrism, which is a fact, they can’t! Young people think science has found many answers that were the sole claimant of religion. This is demonstrably false. We don’t know any more today than we did since the 6th day of creation. We observe things, but scientists know zilch about how it got here or where it’s going or how it runs save for the few details revealed by God.

    Young people think that love is an emotional deity that allows anything and everything committed in its name. You need to confront them with the uncomfortable facts that many do terrible things in the name of love, more specifically eros, a fleeting emotion that never stays still and is an illusive thing to be spurned, much less treated like an infalliable god. You need to criticize love more rather than treat it for the grotesque vaguery that modernity promotes it as. It’s time to emphasize that God given emotion of hatred, give it its proper place and show why it is a good thing, and how the emotion of ‘hatred’ can either be useful in the right circumstances for the right reasons or abused, just as ‘love’ can be useful or abused in the same way.

    Young people are under the impression that the afterlife is some cloudy cosmic nirvana where we all go to and float around harmlessly without definition or law. You have to challenge them on these assumptions to the point it makes them uncomfortable. Young people are under the impression that hell does not exist, because you sidestep around it and avoid talking about it which probably means you don’t believe in it either. Somebody commented awhile ago on Fr. Z’s post about the fact that ‘few are saved’ and in response to quotes from the Church fathers and saints about how many go to hell. They insisted that this scares people off and invites despair. Let me tell you that as one of those young people myself, this was a good thing. Taking hell seriously and being AFRAID and understanding the purity of goodness that is God and the extent we are allowed free will, made a VERY BIG IMPACT on my life to the point of real change! Young people need to know about hell, and they need to be kept up at night like I did thinking about it. Fear is useful and necessary. God gave us that emotion for a reason. So use it properly!

    All these misconceptions in young people must be challenged. They must be stricken down and there must not even be one erroneous lifesaver left for them to cling to. Eliminate all their excuses. Period. Toss them out in the philosophical desert without any of their misconceptions. Let them rage and scream and curse and bleed the contradictory unsupportable poison out of their system. And they will eventually find their sanity and seek after the real truth that only the Church can provide.

  65. dominic1955 says:


    It’s awful hard to be a “Traditionalist” by supporting a liturgy that is a grand total of 42 years old.

    1) If you’ve only heard it implied, I’ll come right out and say it. The NO is not traditional. Valid, yes. Licit, yes. Traditional? Only if words no longer have meaning. It was created by a commission, pieced together out of various liturgical sources some of which were old. Read Bugnini’s book on the matter and do some research on it, its all pretty eye opening.

    2) All “Tradded up” the NO is still problematic because adding smells and bells does nothing to the structure, the prayers, the lectionary, etc. etc. etc. I didn’t “leave” the NO because of irreverence or somesuch, I go to the TLM and Byzantine Rite because those are organic liturgies of the Church and not patchwork quilts. I’m no perfectionist either, knowing full well that ’62 is far from a magic number. I’m not your average Trad, I can put up with anything. But, given the choice, I’ll take traditional liturgy. Same with the breviary, I gave up my LOTH years ago and haven’t looked back.

  66. Mike says:


    Oh, I know of Bugnini. I know the NO was not made to be “traditional”, but let’s be honest here: the NO is what we’re stuck with. And as long as we’re stuck with it, we should work to improve it as best we can. It would be nice if it would go, but that won’t happen. So we need to do the best with what we have.

  67. Imrahil says:

    Very very well… I’ll be frank on this one. (Not that I’d ever restrain myself too much in this combox…) Also, I seem to be long on this one. I beg for forgiveness; but then again you need not read anything I write of course.

    The writer may be young; such things happen. (I am too.) He is, obviously, a traditionalist (note: this is, for me, not a derogatory term; I’d tend to include myself in it, even though some might not accept me in it of course) Catholic with the best intentions. He is right on many issues.

    He is not right on everything.

    He is right on his biggest point: the older people should stop to always tell young people what young people want. Only… he himself seems to be repeating, although implicitly, a phrase of older people (though in this case orthodox older people) about what young people want, a phrase that has all the intentions something young people never think of wanting: I mean of course the whole The youth is yearning for the big thing, without foul compromises, and of course nothing less than holiness topos. This, if true, is true in a very conceiled way. For practical matters, we had better treat it as wrong. [For safety’s sake, I’ll say that this might be true about Americans, or about that party the American young populace which has inherited practicing faith from their parents and not explicitly given it up, and is heavily influenced, not necessarily for evil, by Evangelicalism.]

    I do not say that in rebuke. I love my fellowagemen and even myself (excusing myself with the command that is put upon me), and he who loves will see the best side in everything. So I do say that there is so much in our youth in which it is right.

    Yes, it does yearn for beauty. The contempt for modern art (to abbreviate it; there obviously is beauty in modern art, and Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia somewhat reconciled me with it) is indeed general. “Your face is so ugly you could almost be a work of modern art”, to quote Gunnery Sergeant Hartman… Yes, it is sick of the world, though I wonder whether that is in the sense that the writer meant. Yes, it does nothing but seek a safe habitat, a safe habitat of the good things. But I sincerly doubt that in any explicit sense seeks a safe habitat where we can bow before God and think.

    We seek a safe habitat where we can shield ourselves from the bad world outside, to have our own jolly little joy with our own jolly little family* in a jolly little job, and a jolly little drink after work and on the feast days, and perhaps a jolly little rock festival when we are in need of a time-out because the world outside has put us in distress for long enough.

    In this I venture to say we are right. A more stern person might say we are much right but not totally, and thus in danger of severely missing the point.

    And why are we sick of the world? Because of the one misconception we do not even recognize as a conception; the thing, and perhaps the one thing, that our parents instilled into us (“life is not fair, my boy” etc.): That the world is bad, that flatteries may be agreeable but truth is always the hard and unbearable thing. Whereas Chesterton said, in a phrase I’d like to quote here, that all these are asides; and while we do contemplate these asides, it is only because the goodness of the whole thing would be unbearable, and then he adds, I recall, “a man shall not see Truth and yet live”… St. Thomas, among other things, proved God’s existence from the goodness of the world. I say “among other things”, and I by no means want to enter into the proof-of-God’s-existence-bashing so frequent among the moderns; but it sometimes strook me this one (not movement, etc.) really would need to be reversed: for we do not believe in the goodness of the world. We have to prove the goodness of the world from the existence of God.

    Some might say that by this, we’re back at Heathenism. Once faith went out (and let’s for easiness’ sake and without devalueing all such moments as are praisable say that faith did went out) we are back at Heathenism. Chesterton paraphrased the Christian attitude towards Nature with saying that she is our sister, because we both have the same Father. Faith went out (as we allowed ourselves to say), and Nature went back to be our mother. No – our stepmother. The evil stepmother of the fairytales.

    From this background, it is clear how much right our youth still is. For it insists heavily on the principle that it has a right, or a maybe-no-right-but-know-what-I-mean (the Christian would of course say that it’s the second thing), on something good in the world. In this sense, yes, youth yearns for the good. But let’s face it — it is not the good of utmost self-sacrifice. It is a good of self-love, and let those who think it inordinate call it egoism.

    It is said so often that youth has a problem with alcohol, meaning either a medicinic or a indulgence issue. That is accidental. If it were only that thing, we’d be just fine — as fine as we were in all ages with the ever-present lack of pre-marriage discipline: there are sins and there is need of confession, but in this life there is no big further problem.

    It is a hope issue.

    It may seem that our youth lacks courage and sacrifice. Maybe it does; at any rate it is not in well-trained in it. But the thing is that it has not been put to the test. Give it something to fight for (and not a hopeless cause); and then ask it again to actually fight.

    And it is true that our youth sincerely disapproves of all that wishy-washy [sorry, Google translator told me this is an English word, which surprised me much!] with which Truth is conceiled. All men, as has been said in this combox, yearn for Truth (though I have not yet really read all comments]; the will to wash it away seems to have been a priviledge of the last generation. I’d of course not be so easy to say those of university age are usually willing to make the sacrifices that come with living it . But they are at least in so far as that they would rather officially give up the faith (in favor of “being a little religious”) than live in a limbo of excuses.

    As it were, this is not necessarily a good thing; it is a big problem. One of the many things that our youth need to be told is that it is no crime for a sinner to be nevertheless a believer.

    And then there’s still the hope issue.

    Another thing is: our youth does not necessarily share the traditionalist prejudice that the guitar is ritually impure, and that so are bare hymns. But after all in my culture it was possible before the II Vatican Council to have a Mass prayed by the priest in form of a Silent Mass, accompanied by the laity singing the Schubert Mass, which is, yes, hymns.
    Our youth may dislike wishy-washy, and trials of ingratiation by older people. But give them young people of serious joy in faith, with a guitar; and you’ll see that whatever may be the response (I’m far from assuming that it’d always be positive), the guitar is not the problem.

    Now for something I read in the comments:

    We have a sense of sin, and it’s personal, not social (it simply cannot be anything else). Here is one of the rare instances where the religious language really has been cut from understanding and it can be made clear again by using another word (I’m of course not supposing we should cease to talk of “sin”). And this other word is not “make a mistake”. No. We do not buy into the perfectionism that it is a sin to make a mistake.

    The word “to sin” must be, for (only) explanatory purposes, replaced is “to mess up”.

    Ask a young person who has messed up whether she knows what that means. Of course she does. — I once ran into one, who was in heavily distressed by having messed up, and was engaged in a conversation about “what does that tell me about me and my principles” and other such depressing things. I mildly pointed out that there is such a thing as just not doing what one nevertheless thinks one should do. The other conversation partner did not accept that (to which I responded “but we do that everyday more than once! sometimes more and sometimes less!”), but the one who came from messing-up accepted it at first hearing and seemed relieved about it.

    We do have a sense of sin; what we may have lost is a sense of forgiveness. I mean real forgiveness and not surreptitious conceiling-them-away because that-is-not-hard-after-all.

    We do have a sense of mortality; at least in the sense of knowing that we have to die (and whether it’d be senseful and/or healthy to contemplate death much oftener is a whole other topic). What we may have lost is a sense of the (Personal and Last) Judgment.

    Heavily interesting were the comments of dear @robtbrown about the military draft and dear @Chicken about contraception.

  68. Imrahil says:

    [* Some might be surprised about the family thing. But I’d think that the reason why we do not earlier found families is that we have a bit lost hope about the future life, involving that we must get the perfect thing in this life. That is hard. And we have a problem with loving oneself and burdening oneself to a partner. And then we simply do not find one, perhaps.

    We have not simply given up ourselves into promiscuity because we want promiscuity. We may lack of discipline, and we may use promiscuity as a substitute drug for something better we do not consider ourselves worthy of. That together makes up a lot of things, though. Of course even though not “by conviction”, promiscuity makes up for a whole lot of problems.]

  69. VexillaRegis says:

    @Imrahil: Psst! “Er” ist eine junge Dame ;-). Der maskierte Küchlein und fvhale haben sich auch geirrt – siehe oben gestern um 12…

    Sorry, trying to be discrete :-)

  70. The Masked Chicken says:

    Falsch, ja, aber ich bin ein Huhn, was kann man da erwarten? Ihr Menschen gleich aussehen.

    Der Maskierte Huhn

  71. The Masked Chicken says:

    Vielleicht besser: Menschen alle gleich aussehen.

    I really wish I had had Google Translate when I was in graduate school!

    Das Huhn

  72. The Masked Chicken says:

    In fact, let’s get a team together and Google Translate obscure Latin treatises. There are many musical texts from the 12 – 16 centuries which could really use the treatment. I had to spend hours with a 500 pound Latin dictionary (I kid, but it was so thick it would have stopped a bullet) trying to translate Medieval texts when I was in graduate school. man, students today have got it so easy :)

    The Chicken

  73. fvhale says:

    Maskierte Huhn klingt fröhlich heute Morgen! Deo gratias!…aaaa….Gott sei Dank!

  74. VexillaRegis says:

    @Chicken: Noch besser: Menschen sehen alle gleich aus. Google translate sometimes comes up with hilarious translations like All folks look same.
    I concur on the Latin translation-thing.

    Sorry, have to go, dinner ready.

  75. robtbrown says:

    Imrahill says,

    Yes, it does yearn for beauty. The contempt for modern art (to abbreviate it; there obviously is beauty in modern art, and Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia somewhat reconciled me with it) is indeed general. “

    I have only seen Gaudi’s Sagrada in photos. When I look at them, two ideas come to mind: The first is that this is what a church looks like if it has been built from chocolate and left to stand in the hot sun. The second is that this church was made from steel and has been at the bottom of the ocean for 75 years.

    Some postmodern architecture I like–Dulles Airport (Eero Saarinen, who also designed the Arch in St Louis) is magnificent with its graceful

    On the other hand, if beauty produces a certain harmony in the soul, I don’t think most contemporary architecture is meant to be beautiful.

  76. Angie Mcs says:

    Mamajem, : a somewhat late response to your observation on the quality of TLM and NO services, and traditionalism. We attend a TLM weekly. It is very controlled and strictly done but one still feels a warmth and love within the reverence. At times, of course, babies cry, but the parents take them out. Other than that and an occasional cough, there are moments of complete, utter silence. Every parishioner is intensely focused on Father and his movements. We are all in the moment together, hundreds of people as one. I cant imagine anything more beautiful. On thenother hand, when we were traveling once, my husband and I attended a TLM and left somewhat differently. Maybe it was the hurried Latin, some awkwardness and hesitancy in the priests movements, an off day, it was hard to tell. There were few people attending as the mass was done at a strange time, almost as if it were tacked on because the pastor wanted to do it despite knowing he wouldn’t have a lot of support. Nevertheless, we stayed afterwards, thanked FAther for offering the TLM and told him we sincerely appreciated the opportunity to attend a TLM during our travels. I think we felt that by going to a TLM, we would feel that same way as we do at our church, just because it was a TLM. I don’t want to criticize anyone, but I do feel that any young person who would have attended the TLM we attended on our travels might not be as inspired as we all think. Yet were they to attend the mass we attend regularly, I cant help but believe they would be deeply touched. I don’t mean to sound irreverent, but there is a kind of art to a mass, a fluidity, like a beautiful dance, and it differs from parish to parish, as each priest offers his own gifts. Asmoreand more young priests become instructed in the TLM, I don’t believe we should assume that the mass alone will win them over. It will take time to learn more than the proper words and movements, and patience from us as the young priests become more comfortable within this new structure.

    I imagine the same can be said for the NO, although I have had very little experience with it in years. Of course there is much more leeway for the celebrant to do what he likes and go in the opposite direction, so that what he thinks is “cool” and appealing to young people really turns them off. I have read the comments here and it seems that manynpeople are very unhappy with this form, and i can understand why. The horrible ghosts of decades ago still linger in some parishes. But I imagine that there can also be traditionalism presented in the NO. Not every pastor has to resort to the extremes I have read about in the comments here and will surely appreciate a more traditional mass. I do know that people who attend the TLM or EF are often considered snobs by those who attend the NO, while NO attendees are considered by some as attending a flawed and inferior mass. That bothers me, this prejudgment. I wouldn’t want our young people to continue this attitude. Rather than worry so much what mass young people like, let us show them a little more kindness towards each other. Eventually, they will go where they will feel nurtured. In our church the mass that is currently the most attended by young people seems to be the EF in Latin- perhaps that strikes a balance in them. Time will tell.

    Forgive me my ignorance if I have spoken in a way that shows my lack of knowledge compared to many of you. I am still a recent convert and would appreciate any comments if anyone thinks I have said anything totally wrong or made incorrect judgements.

  77. Joseph-Mary says:

    I live in a university town. The campus parish was the liberal bastion with heretical speakers and all sorts of liturgical abuses. And guitars and stuff too. But where were the most students attending Mass? At the most faithful parish in town. So at long last the Archbishop brought in two faithful priests. Huge howls from the liberal establishment, even to the extent of some going into schism. But guess what? The college students are coming to all night adoration by the hundreds. They pack the candlelight Mass on Tuesday nights. They love the chant Mass. Many like the fact that a kneeler is now placed at the front of the communion line and one can stand or kneel at the kneeler. The kneeler is well used. It is the truth that draws; it is beauty that draws.. Let us make them both readily available to all–young and old.

  78. Gratias says:

    Since Summorum Pontificum there is a new stirring in the Church. Gregorian chant is being recovered. Our Diocesan TLM it sounds like this:


    The new translation has made the NO mass more reverent, but only a bit. Small improvements could be easily made by the pastors, for example the singing the Agnus Dei when processing for communion instead of the Taste and See. Perhaps the Sanctus could be said in Latin.

    But something is changing. On November 7 we attended the Wednesday general audience at Saint Peter’s square. There were thousands of pilgrims. The tickets had the Credo printed on the back. At the end it was announced that Benedict XVI would lead all in singing the Paternoster. Despite not having it written, thousands upon thousands of voices chanted the Our Father in Latin in unison with the Pope. There were many priests so perhaps that is part of the explanation. There were many pilgrims from Poland and Croatia, so that could be another explanation. But the point is that thousands knew the Paternoster by heart. Benedict always ends his audiences with one of the three indispensable prayers in Latin. Times are changing.

  79. dominic1955 says:


    Thanks for your clarification. I would agree with that as far as the NO is what we have in most places. For instance, I’m all for the new translation-it makes the NO much better just with that little improvement.

  80. Mike says:

    I’m going to reword my initial comment.

    The Novus Ordo is not inherently traditional, and yes, of appealing to Protestants. As Bugnini himself said, anything which would “remotely constitute an obstacle” would be removed. I heard that Bugnini claimed the Novus Ordo opened the door for further progress to come and wouldn’t be surprised if that were true (if anyone can cite that, please do). I know Bugnini was believed to be a Freemason. I know several prayers are missing or stripped down compared to the Extraordinary Form. I know the faith of many has dropped dramatically since the Novus Ordo. I recognize that, and it makes me as uneasy as the next person.

    Now when I said “people” in my first comment, I should have specified: “the more liberal”. The more liberal are correct when they say the Novus Ordo broke with tradition, IN THE SENSE that Bugnini wanted that. They are NOT correct when they say the Mass itself is changed now, because the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit, and He would not allow such a thing. Also, the liberals don’t understand that, even if the Novus Ordo is not traditional in and of itself, they should not be pushing their liberalisms like Holy Communion in the hand, female altar servers, extraordinary ministers, bad music, etc… Why should they not be doing this if the NO is not traditional? I’ll tell you.

    Because, for whatever reason, the Church has kept the Novus Ordo as the ordinary form of the Roman Rite, and generally makes it clear that the traditional way of doing things is the preference. For example, Pope Benedict’s writings on ad orientem, John Paul II on Communion in the hand, the Holy See on girl vs. boy servers, Redemptionis Sacramentum on extraordinary ministers…

    Could they tighten the screws a lot more? Yes they sure could, and I wish they would. I’d give anything if they would. But until they do, we’re stuck with what we have, and we might as well try to make it as Catholic as possible.

  81. Mike says:

    made for the purpose of appealing* to Protestants

  82. mamajen says:

    @Angie Mcs

    I attended a TLM as a child, which I barely remember, and then as an adult. The most recent one was poorly implemented, and it just didn’t do a thing for me. The priest had the very best of intentions, and had to actually fight the diocese to even be allowed to do it, so I can’t blame him much, but I know what you’re saying in that some TLMs are better experiences than others. I hope that someday in my travels I can experience a really good, well-established TLM. There are virtually no options where I live.

    The NO parish I belonged to for most of my childhood (in the 80’s) had only male lectors and altar servers. Communion was distributed on the tongue ONLY, kneeling, at the altar rail. Just about all of the women wore mantillas, and there were extras in the back of church to buy or borrow. There was a sodality for girls to belong to. We don’t go there anymore because it is a little too far for my family, but we visit once in a while and it’s much the same with a new priest who was a friend of the old one. And it is absolutely packed, with plenty of youth. There is so much that could be done to improve the NO. I have nothing against the TLM, but the vernacular language is key for a lot of people.

    I was fortunate in that there were many parishes in my area that did a very good, reverent NO. A couple were more liberal, but still not that bad at all. Then we had to deal with the fallout from the abuse scandal and more recently (inexplicable) church closings/mergers and people started to drop off like flies. I hope things will eventually become good again.

  83. Matt R says:

    Mamajen, that’s been my experience. I wish I could say that at my parish Holy Communion was as well-done and there were only male lectors. Sigh, we’ll get there eventually. But, for a solid 20 years there have been no female servers, and we wear cassocks and surplices. When the youth serve, we can get up to 20 boys. There’s chant and polyphony. That is the kind of parish my traditionally-minded compadres want, since the Ordinary Form is here to stay.

    Also, for those who suggest that those who desire orthodoxy and traditional liturgy are in a minority: yes, there is a *lot* of work to do with a *lot* of people. But we’re getting there. The days of praise and worship liturgy are darn-near over. In fact, I get stuck with the OCP-type music, and have never been to a true rock Mass. Drums, yes. Rock band, no. (Now, I dunno what to say about the Steubenville conferences. I guess they will change as the university makes progress, and as the attendees demand change.)

  84. jesusthroughmary says:

    “I have nothing against the TLM, but the vernacular language is key for a lot of people.”

    I can’t understand why it’s SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO important to people that Father talks to God in their own vernacular language. Father isn’t talking to you, so it’s really not your business what language he’s speaking. You want to know what he’s saying? Get catechized and learn the Mass. The whole concept that I need to immediately understand everything that’s being said at Mass is a false assumption, and yet so rarely challenged even by traditionalists. As Fr. Z so often says, “Mass is not a didactic moment.”

  85. mamajen says:


    Because for some people that’s all they’ve ever known, and they have been taught that paying attention to, listening to and understanding the mass (yes, even the priest’s parts) are all part of participation. You can’t suddenly switch those people to all Latin and expect them to embrace it. And how, pray tell, does one “get catechized”? It’s not that simple. In my area there is one TLM that I know of and nowhere that I’m aware of for adults to learn that mass. Sure, I’m good with the Internet, but not everyone is. My whole point is that change needs to be gradual and we can’t be dismissive of what people have known their whole lives.

  86. Matt R says:

    Jesusthroughmary, while the prayers are not directed at us, they are for us to listen to and pray with.
    While Mass is not solely didactic, I believe that its teaching function is there, in a secondary role perhaps. I mean, the first part of the TLM is known as the Mass of the Catechumens.
    No, you can’t just ‘get catechized.’ Even at my parish, liturgically-directed catechesis is a struggle…I can’t imagine what it’s like elsewhere.

  87. Hidden One says:

    As a young Catholic man, I’m still waiting for “The First Monthly Solemn High Youth Mass in Extraordinary Form“, preferably Pontifical. I tell you, it’s the future of youth ministry. And, unlike the past youth ministry, it’ll work. I was raised on rock band praise and worship in a Protestant church. Roughly half of the youth near my age who were involved in their youth ministry who are still practising Christians are now EF-loving Catholics. The other two or so practising Christians remain Protestants.

  88. Imrahil says:

    the vernacular language is key for a lot of people.

    Not around here. We’ve merely changed from Latin to Standard German — that is, from one foreign language learned in school (this one not for all students, I concede) to another.

    It always produces an odd feeling to address God in the vernacular, viz. in Bavarian.

    Dear @Vexilla Regis, vielen Dank! and heartfelt apologies to the dear @Young Catholic.

  89. Imrahil says:

    That said, the change into the vernacular was systematically one of the smaller ones. The Old Mass could have simply been translated, as it once was into Old Slavonic (in Croatia)… But the liturgy reform, hence the name, was fare more than that.

  90. The Masked Chicken says:

    “You can’t suddenly switch those people to all Latin and expect them to embrace it. And how, pray tell, does one “get catechized”? It’s not that simple. In my area there is one TLM that I know of and nowhere that I’m aware of for adults to learn that mass. Sure, I’m good with the Internet, but not everyone is. My whole point is that change needs to be gradual and we can’t be dismissive of what people have known their whole lives.”

    That is EXACTLY what happened in most parishes in 1969 (and somewhat, before). They dismissed the Latin Mass and substituted the vernacular. This drastic sort of change has already happened, once. Why would changing in the opposite direction be that much more difficult?

    Really, its not that hard to re-learn the Latin Mass, especially with a good missal. I guarantee that if the Church, this day, suddenly decided to go back to the EF, it would not take that long to re-acclimate, if one is a committed Catholic. That, is the key. Christ’s followers will follow the Lamb wherever he goes. The Catholic Church is a beacon, shining a light on the Lamb’s path, so that we see more clearly and certainly than our Protestant brethren where He wills to go. If the Church returned to even demanding the OF in Latin (as it should be), those who love Christ and know this to be His way, will, because of their love for Him, find a way to learn the Mass. They will self-organize learning parties; they will print out missals. They will do whatever it takes.

    The problem is not the Mass. It is our commitment to Christ as it it is reflected in our commitment to His Holy Mass. The Mass is not our personal possession and neither is Christ. We neither own Christ nor do we own the Mass. Unfortunately, the Protestant idea of a, ” personal relationship,” with Christ has become distorted to the point where Christ, for many people, has become just another possession that they, personally, own. Christ, paradoxically, has become an idol for them, just as the Mass has become an idol. No one owns Christ. No one Owns the Mass. It is a relationship borne of the freedom of love that gives His followers the strength to please him and that strength will make the transition back to Latin a joy, if and when the Church should do decide.

    The Chicken

  91. The Masked Chicken says:

    …should so decide.

    The Chicken

  92. dominic1955 says:

    As Imrahil alludes to, the push for vernacularization was really not much of a “power to the people” movement but rather a victory for secularization, centralization and liberal (European definition) nationalism.

    In this country, we forget that it wasn’t that long ago that countries like “Germany” and “Italy” didn’t exist and that more unified countries like France and Spain have numerous regions within their borders that are worlds apart from each other or were their own little countries longer ago that the German and Italian states. There is (was, at least) no universal “vernacular” language in those regions. The standardization of language was part of the nationalistic push to create a “national consciousness” and get away from regionalism. The Occitan region of France had its own language and culture that is not the same as Paris, which in turn is not the same as it is in Brittany and Normandy. When some folks in Rome had the bright idea to “vernacularize” the liturgy, they violated our own principle of subsidiarity and into the hands of the liberal nationalists. Instead of advocating for the support of local culture, custom and language, we got the NO translated into the “national” standardized German, Italian, French, Spanish, etc. and not Occitanian, Corsican, Venetian, Catalan, etc.

    If I remember correctly, didn’t the BVM speak to Bernadette in Occitan, and not Standard French?

  93. Matt R says:

    Chicken, I believe the conditions you describe (where people wish to be with Christ, so they work hard to follow the Mass in Latin in either form) are far off in the future, and prayer and the passing of time will lead to these conditions. I guess the opposition to slowly switching back to solely Latin is b/c we need to be catechized more…that’s up to priests and bishops, doing the work like +Morlino is. I also feel that certain people and groups want to force this on us much sooner than I and others desire…I know people with that attitude, and boy, it turns off prospective Latin Mass-goers in a heartbeat.

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